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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Trader Joe's Banh Mi Inspired Noodle Bowl

So it turns out that Cauliflower Cookie Butter isn't a thing...yet. And it also turns out that previous cookie butter selections are already vegan. I hadn't realized.

Know what else is vegan? 

Not this salad. 

But it is vegetarian, and it's also Vietnamese. "Banh mi" apparently means "bread," which is super inappropriate, because there's absolutely no bread in this product. Trader Joe would like you to purchase a baguette separately and stuff the contents of this salad into it for an authentic Vietnamese-inspired banh mi sandwich. Or you can just skip the bread and the carbs and eat it salad-style, which is exactly what we did.

I'm down with sriracha. I'm down with tofu. And I'm definitely down with sriracha-baked tofu, and that, in my humble opinion, was by far the strongest element of this exotic salad. Apparently, it can be purchased separately at TJ's. We haven't gotten around to reviewing it just by itself on this blog yet.

I'm normally a fan of most salad dressings, but this stuff was a little odd to me. It was slightly sweet, but there was also a tanginess involved that I found off-putting for some reason. It was almost sour to my taste buds. Also, the pickled vegetables were a little too pickled for me. The noodles? They were just kinda there.

Sonia? She loved it. And I'm glad, because she downed the salad quickly after I had given up on it. I wanted to like it, but there was just too much pickley tang. I gobbled up some lettuce and srirachified tofu chunks at the onset, but most of the pieces were slathered in that dressing, so I deferred to the wife at that point. I'd give banh mi another chance if I ever came across the bona fide sandwich at a Vietnamese place, but in general, I'll stick with pho.

Sonia enjoyed each element of the salad, including the dressing. She thought all the flavors worked well together, and she appreciated that the tofu was nice and firm—it gave the salad some body. She thinks it was a little too pricey at $4.99, but other than that, she'd consider getting it again.

Four stars from Sonia. Two and a half from me.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.


  1. I wanted to love this and just... didn’t. The best part was definitely the siracha tofu which wasn’t nearly as spicy as i was afraid it would be (i am a big fan of the similar texture “savory” tofu they sell) but the deal breaker for me was those cold rice noodles! Somehow they really just didn’t work cold. And the dressing was not my favorite. I finished it since I didn’t have a plan B for lunch but won’t rebuy.
    You should definitely do a review of the baked savory tofu and siracha tofu! I like the savory tofu cubed in a veggie stirfry, or sliced thin on a sandwich with avocado/lettuce/tomato/onion and that dijon aioli, and of course in salads. Reminds me of a firm smoked cheese but not smokey flavored...

  2. I tried to buy this a few weeks ago and when I was checking out, the cashier was like "do you really want to buy this?" and I said "ummm, I don't know, do I?" and she said it isn't good and the dressing is yucky. :) So I didn't try it. Love it when the staff steers you away from stuff.

  3. I really liked this salad! I bought it this evening and served it all over some more mixed greens, since there is plenty of dressing. I actually found the sriracha tofu a little bland and considered adding another squeeze from my bottle. Next time!

  4. A traditional Bahn Mi is a baguette stuffed with beef or pork, or fish with cilantro and jalapeno or chili pepper... this tastes nothing like a bahn mi sandwich... at least one that I'm aware of


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